Noble Hoping To Earn His Spurs

MIDFIELDER Mark Noble was in action for the England Under-19s against Switzerland on Wednesday night, captaining the young Lions to victory from centre-midfield.

And with Nigel Reo-Coker ruled out the Academy graduate, who stormed onto the first-team scene last season, is hoping to be involved in the mouth-watering clash with Spurs at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

A local lad and lifelong Hammers fan, no one knows the significance of Sunday's match to the claret and blue faithful more than Mark. And he is hoping to get the chance to reflect that passion on the White Hart Lane pitch.

"It will be a great day for the fans," he admitted, "and obviously I'm desperate for us to go there and get a result. I've been asked for more tickets for Sunday's game than I have for any other, and that shows you how much this one means to everyone.

"All of my mates can't wait for Sunday's game. The last time we played there was in the League Cup a couple of years ago, but I wasn't involved then, so if I make the squad on Sunday it will be the first time I've been involved in a game at White Hart Lane.

"It would mean so much to me to be part of a winning West Ham team at White Hart Lane, and it would be even more incredible if I could get some time on the pitch.

"Obviously I'm really hoping to be involved in the game. It may be on the bench, but I'm just itching to play a part and hopefully I can."

After making incredible strides last season, Mark has been hampered by a back injury this season. But with his fitness restored the 18-year-old starlet is looking forward to making an impact on the Premiership.

"It's been a strange start to the season," he confessed. "I played in international games during pre-season, came off the bench in the opening game against Blackburn and then unfortunately got injured.

"I came back to play in the League Cup against Sheffield Wednesday, but then I picked up the back problem. But that seems fine now and I'm really looking forward to getting on with the season and hopefully getting involved in the first-team more."

Mark will perhaps be encouraged about his chances of featuring this weekend by his withdrawl from the England Under-19 game after Hammers colleague Mo Ashikodi had given England the lead.

"I was delighted to play," he said. "I was pulled off early because the manager knee that I might be needed for West Ham this Sunday. I thought it was a great performance by the team and I was really pleased for Mo that he came on and scored a couple of goals.

"I don't know how he does it, but Mo always seems to score goals for England and he did brilliantly when he came on.

"It was an honour for me to be named captain as well. It's terrific to captain your country at any level and that was a big achievement for me. I played in centre-midfield as well, which gave me the opportunity to get on the ball and make things happen. I definitely think I get the best out of myself in that position.

"Now I'm just hoping that I can get involved with the first-team and be on the winning side on Sunday. That would make it a perfect week."